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William Herschel Telescope Image of Saturn




Astronomers from Queen Mary and Westfield College (London), the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (Tucson), and Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia (Granada) observed the Saturn system during the early hours UT on 2 & 3 August. Images were taken of the unlit side of the rings, faint satellites, as well as deep exposures and spectra of the E ring.

This image is a 32 s exposure taken with the 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma using an 890 nm narrowband filter. The image was taken at 03:03 UT on the 3rd of August when the Earth and Sun still were on opposite sides of the ring plane. The opening angle of the rings was ~0.2 degrees.

Distinct brightness variations corresponding to regions in the C ring and to the Cassini division are readily identifiable on both sides of the saturated image of Saturn's disk.

To the west of Saturn are Dione, Tethys, and Rhea, with Janus visible just beyond the rings. Enceladus is clearly visible to the east; the faint object at the eastern ansa is probably due to the combined brightness of Epimetheus and Prometheus.

The observers were Steve Larson, Derek Jones, Mitch Gordon, Sean Greaves, and Olga Munoz.

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